March 16, 2008
By Chantal Cough-Schulze, Falls Church, VA

Inspiration has the wicked little habit
of whisking its way in without warning,
slamming the door behind it and throwing fruit and confetti in the air
it tickles behind your knees and itches in the center of your back
it makes buttons fall off blouses and locks itself inside in an adolescent stupor
it strokes your cheek and lulls you to sleep in itself, mesmerized,
only to jolt you awake again with bouncing on the bed
it whispers lovingly and makes a good pillow
or it yelps in your ear in the middle of business

its prodding fingers and luminescent eyes appear suddenly
as it prattles and woos and flutters around in its infinite possibility
it wonders and wriggles and whirls down your spine
and fleetingly flits through your fingertips with the
indispensable brio seen in small locomotives, children, and grasshoppers

it does not hurry, but its peripatetic ways make it seem just as wild
it can wait years, but its halcyon lifestyle will not last forever
its addictive, fragile self has a larger soul than all of us
but its winsome little smile is perpetually teething

it cannot be trained and often runs away
but somehow, when all else is quiet
you may feel it, curled on your shoulder beneath your earlobe
and stroke its gray down and feel its calm, sleepy heartbeat
and you may forgive it softly and keep it warm until tomorrow

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